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DEAD RECKONING: Executions in America [Kindle Edition]

Greg Mitchell
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $2.99

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Book Description

Capital punishment remains a hot-button issue in America. When Troy Davis was executed by the state of Georgia on September 21, 2011, despite questions about evidence linking him to a murder, it drew wide and angry protests in the United States and around the world. And no wonder: The U.S. is the only country in the West that continues to execute dozens of prisoners every year.


Why has the death penalty endured in America? And will it now be turned aside, outlawed forever? Greg Mitchell's timely new book, "Dead Reckoning: Executions in America," explores these questions, as it deeply probes the death penalty and evolving methods of state killing, from noose to needle, right up to the death of Troy Davis.

"Dead Reckoning" is only available as an e-book. It can be used on Kindles, all phones, Blackberrys, PCs and Macs.

Mitchell, who writes a popular daily blog at The Nation magazine, is the author of twelve previous books, including the anti-death penalty classic "Who Owns Death?" (available in print edition only), written with Robert Jay Lifton. That book focused on how various people respond to the death penalty process: prosecutors, judges, jurors, jailers, victims’ families, reporters and the American public.


The fast-paced new book, "Dead Reckoning," offers a critical overview of capital punishment in America, along with a vivid discussion of current issues central in today's debate, based on many interviews. Along the way, Mitchell turns to a wide cast of notable abolitionists, from Charles Dickens and Mark Twain to Albert Camus and Christopher Hitchens -- and Steve Earle. It's must reading for anyone interested in this increasingly volatile and important issue.


Many Americans still embrace the death penalty in theory, but look at it with an increasingly critical eye. This essential book helps explain why, and points to the eventual end of state killing.


Mitchell's classic Random House book "The Campaign of the Century" won the Goldsmith Book Prize and has just been published for the first time as an e-book.. His most recent e-book, on the Occupy Wall Street movement, is titled "40 Days That Shook the World."

His other recent books and e-books are "The Age of WikiLeaks," "Bradley Manning," and "Atomic Cover-Up: Two U.S. Soldiers, Hiroshima & Nagasaki and The Greatest Movie Never Made." He also wrote "Hiroshima in America" with Robert Jay Lifton.


-- PRAISE FOR "Who Owns Death?":


Los Angeles Times: "In eloquent detail, Lifton and Mitchell indict the randomness and cruelty of executions and the heavy burden they place on the souls of those who participate in the process of putting someone to death."


The Economist: "Impassioned and informative."


The New York Times Book Review: "It is a remarkable testimony to the authors' skills and the clarity of their writing that whether one is for or against capital punishment by the end of this book the reader will agree that inexorable social forces forces are carrying us to the eventual abolition of the death penalty."


Product Details

  • File Size: 468 KB
  • Print Length: 61 pages
  • Publisher: Townsend Books (September 22, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005P0357A
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #818,669 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition
I was actually surprised when I realised this book is only 61 print pages worth: there was so much information and food for thought that I'd just read it paricularly quickly.

Mitchell is clearly unashamedly anti the death penalty, but even so, gives a fairly well-rounded case. He doesn't try to hide his antipathy, but does not indiscriminately demonise capital punishment's proponents. He also doesn't resort simply to emotional reasoning, but points out the actual weaknesses, such as the lack of a deterrent value, the irreversibility of the punishment, and the discrepancy in the numbers of white vs minority offenders who are put on death row.

I've never been comfortable with capital punishment, and I'm quite happy to live in a country that doesn't use it, but I feel much more informed about the good and bad points now, and feel there is both good food for thought and for reasoned discussion of the issues here.

At the end of the book there are also several short articles by the author and one by actor Alec Baldwin that are more personal and give some real depth and emotion to the debate.

On the whole, I don't think this one slender book is likely to convert any die-hard death-penalty advocates, but I would think anyone with a heart and a brain will at least be made to think.

The only negative point really is that this reads like an MS which has never been proofread. The errors are common enough that I was annoyed, though not enough to stop me reading. Many are obvious typos, but overall it gives a rather sloppy feel, and given the seriousness of the topic, and the wealth of information and insight on offer, that seems to me to be an enormous shame.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I clicked "liked this" even though the topic is troublesome. We kill a lot of people here in America by choice and by law. It bothered me to read this, but this is a good summary of how things are done.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Useful, short history marred by editing September 6, 2013
By Catana
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book would almost have been worth four stars except for two things: no bibliography, and the worst editing I've come across in an ebook that's supposedly professionally produced. It might be more accurate to say that it apparently wasn't edited at all. Words split and combined randomly, wonky punctuation, one date 100 years off because of a typo, and a person's last name left off.

Still, it's a good, if very brief history of executions in the US. Just be aware that long stretches of quotes mean that the guts of the book don't amount to much more than a long article.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A good argument September 4, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
As an opponent of capital punishment, I agreed with the premise in this book. People who would have given my state's governor a round of applause for murdering more people than any other governor (I'm a Texan, I'm ashamed to admit that fact) will hate the book.

INNOCENT PEOPLE ARE BEING PUT DOWN LIKE DOGS. People who have been found guilty to crimes they have not done BY EYEWITNESS reports only. Eyewitness evidence is the worst kind of evidence possible. I was once accused of a crime I supposedly committed. THREE eyewitnesses pointed me out. The only problem is that I was in Toronto, Ontario at the time, not in Texas where I supposedly committed the crime.

Can you imagine how I felt when police tried to arrest me? A quick call to my employer and my showing them my airline and hotel receipts for the date that I was supposedly in Texas proved to the police that I wasn't the "perp." The eyewitnesses objected even when they were shown the evidence. The criminal who DID the job was arrested three days later. HE (I am a she) was 5'9" (I'm 5'4") he was blonde, I'm not.

So figure it out: The eyewitnesses were idiots! But how many idiots have sent people to their undeserved deaths? Here in Texas dozens of men have been released from death row when DNA evidence proved that their convictions were wrong, but how does the state repay for years and years of wrongful incarceration? Nothing can replace their lost years. But it is better than being put down like an animal.
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